Monday, May 21, 2012

Copyright Infringement Suit - Legal Briefs

This post from the Wall Street Journal Law Blog discusses the recent ruling in the copyright lawsuit against Westlaw and LexisNexis.  The judge has ruled that copyright registration is a prerequisite to filing a claim.

“Back in February, Raymond Bragar and Gregory Blue sued legal database providers Westlaw and LexisNexis, claiming they were engaged in the “unabashed wholesale copying of thousands of copyright-protected works” created and owned by lawyers and law firms. Those works, of course, are legal briefs.

But who really registers their legal briefs with the copyright office? Edward L. White, for one. He’s one of the plaintiffs, representing a purported class of lawyers who have gone to the trouble. Another plaintiff, Kenneth Elan, represents the vast majority of lawyers who have not.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan booted the would-be class of lawyers without registration from the lawsuit.”

 This will be an interesting one to watch.  Hopefully we’ll see some consideration for public access.


May 21, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New ETL Portfolio on Professional Responsibility

Professor Lawrence C. Marshall of Stanford Law School has posted a new course portfolio on Professional Responsibility on the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Website.

He writes, "The teaching method I use is one that fully integrates the Carnegie Study’s three apprenticeships: substantive knowledge; skills expertise; and professional identity.  The course gives students the real responsibility of serving as an Ethics Committee actually resolving problems arising (in real time) within our legal clinics. Other than a memorandum describing the facts of the issue we will be addressing each week, I eschew providing cases or other materials—relying instead on the student to develop research skills in finding appropriate sources that will form the basis of our discussions and decisions."

He describes the outcome as, "The evidence of effectiveness comes from seeing the improvement in the quality of the student’s research and analysis from the beginning of the course to the end. In addition, in their end-of-the-course evaluations, students often describe the class as a very significant one in the scaffold of their education—mentioning on the ways in which it integrates the theoretical framework of the topic with an intense problem solving approach."

With this course portfolio, ETL now has portfolios on Advanced Contracts, Labor Relations Law, Discovery Practicum, Family Law with Skills, Contracts I & II, First Year Contracts, State Civil Procedure, Litigation and Transactional Immersions, and Professional Responsibility.   These portfolios demonstrate in detail how to incorporate skills into doctrinal courses or how to develop innovative skills courses.  ETL welcomes submissions of course portfolios for innovative courses.

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 20, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three questions to help you lead a more successful and fulfilling career in law.

More specifically, these are questions for brand new law grads from the always helpful Lawyerist blog. The author Jeff Cohen advises that answering these questions with absolute candor is often not easy but it's key to starting off your career in the right direction. 

For me, the first question is definitely the most important and, disappointingly, it's the one asked too infrequently by students before enrolling in law school. I'll add to it a bit of ancillary advice which is that although figuring out what you want to do with your life is incredibly hard, once you answer that question, making a plan to get you there is actually pretty easy.

1. What do I want?

This question is deceptively simple, but can be remarkably complex and difficult to answer. Lawyers are often over achievers who have had to succeed in high school and in College and on the LSAT and in Law School and on the Bar, a seemingly never ending chain of pleasing teachers and test makers and parents. This path is difficult, but usually fairly linear. Knowing what makes other people happy is extremely useful and oftentimes sufficient to get us all the way to that first coveted legal job post passing the Bar. But, for most people, once you join the workforce the world becomes anything but linear. You face unlimited choices, opportunities, responsibilities and risk. Without the self knowledge of what motivates and excites you fundamentally as a human being, how can you know what goal you are striving for?

Bill Cosby famously said: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”  Ask yourself “What do I want?”  Not what pleases your parents or significant other or peers or professors, but what makes you happy and brings meaning to your life.

2. What is the best use of my time now?

3. Do I want to be “right” or do I want to be correct?

You'll just have to click here to read what Lawyerist author Jeff Cohen says about two and three.


May 20, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tell-tale signs Facebook is making you more narcissistic

Prior studies have shown an alleged relationship between the use of Facebook and narcissism. This column from the Sunday magazine section of the New York Times has compiled several recent studies that have tried to home in on precisely what sort of Facebook behavior correlates with increases in narcissism. Is it the total amount of time you spend on Facebook?  Is it whether you are more focused on updating your own Facebook status than commenting on the status of others?  Does the number of "friends" you've acquired have anything to with increases in narcissism?

Perhaps all of the above according to the studies reported by the NYT reflecting that a variety of behaviors may indicate increased levels of narcissism.  Not that there's anything wrong with that . . . .

Does Facebook Turn People Into Narcissists?

There has been a lot of scholarship devoted to the study of Facebook, sparking debate about the mental health and personality traits of frequent users. Most recently, research from Western Illinois University suggested, like other studies before it, that Facebook appeals to our most narcissistic tendencies. The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, asked 292 people to answer questions aimed at measuring how self-involved they were.

Those who frequently updated their Facebook status, tagged themselves in photos and had large numbers of virtual friends, were more likely to exhibit narcissistic traits, the study found. Another study found that people with high levels of narcissism were more likely to spend more than an hour a day on Facebook, and they were also more likely to post digitally enhanced personal photos. But what the research doesn’t answer is whether Facebook attracts narcissists or turns us into them.

Last month, a study of 233 Facebook-using college students by researchers at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the University of Hartford took a different approach. Were the students primarily writing self-promoting status updates? Or were they interested in others, clicking “likes” and posting comments on friends’ pages? How many Facebook friends did they collect?

In addition to measuring narcissism (Do you like being the center of attention or blending in with the crowd?), the researchers also measured a student’s sense of privacy. (Do you share information with a wide circle of friends or value your privacy?) The researchers found, to their surprise, that frequency of Facebook use, whether it was for personal status updates or to connect with friends, was not associated with narcissism. Narcissism per se was associated with only one type of Facebook user — those who amassed unrealistically large numbers of Facebook friends.

Instead, frequent Facebook users were more likely to score high on “openness” and were less concerned about privacy. So what seems like self-promoting behavior may just reflect a generation growing up in the digital age, where information — including details about personal lives — flows freely and connects us.

“It’s a huge oversimplification to say Facebook is for narcissists,” said Lynne Kelly, director of the school of communication at the University of Hartford and one of the study’s authors. “You share information about yourself on Facebook as a way to maintain relationships.”

According further to the column, the social media tool of choice for hardcore narcissists is Twitter.


May 20, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donating and Procuring Organs

Shameless Plug Department: Louis J. Sirico, Jr., “Donating and Procuring Organs: An Annnotated Bibliography,” 104 Law Library Journal  285 (2012).


May 20, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)